Details of proposed sanctions emerge in Apple-Samsung case

Sanctions against Samsung in patent case before U.S. International Trade Commission would involve sales, import ban and posting of bond for 88 percent of value of smartphones at issue while potential bans were under review.

Details have emerged about how Samsung might be affected by an October 24 ruling against it in an Apple patent case before the U.S. International Trade Commission.


A public, partially censored version of the presiding judge’s initial determination and recommendations in the case was published by the ITC yesterday, showing Judge Thomas Pender’s suggested sanctions, which include an import and sales ban on infringing products, and the posting of a bond for 88 percent of the value of the smartphones at issue in the case.

Pender ruled that Samsung is violating one of Apple’s iPhone design patents, as well as three software feature patents, but he gave the nod to Samsung in regard to two other Apple patents. The case involves older Samsung phones and tablets (PDF) — not newer ones like the Galaxy S3 or Note (which are included as part of a separate complaint). Pender’s ruling must be approved by the ITC’s full, six-member commission, which has set February 19 as its target date for a final determination.

Pender’s suggested remedies, as spelled out by blog Foss Patents, include a cease-and-desist order against sales of any infringing devices in the U.S.; an import ban on infringing devices, which would take effect after a 60-day Presidential review period following the commission’s final determination; and the posting of a bond to cover sales occurring during the Presidential review period. The bond calls for 88 percent of the value of all smartphones, 37.6 percent of the value of all tablets, and 32.5 percent of the value of all media players. Samsung had argued for a much lower bond amount, Foss reports.

However, as Foss notes, Judge Pender has also approved “designarounds” by Samsung, with which it could tweak the devices in question so they no longer infringe. In that case, no sales bans would be necessary. Re-examinations of the patents can also be requested from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Recently, one of the patents at issue in the case, involving touch screens, was tentatively deemed invalid by the USPTO, pending the outcome of a potentially lengthy review and appeals process.

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